Salukis trying to limit wear during long stretch of games

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The SIU football team is reaching the end of a nine-week stretch in which it will have played a game every weekend.

The challenge for the Salukis has been to find a balance between limiting the toll the season takes on players’ bodies and getting players enough quality practice time.

“It depends on the team you have,” inside linebackers coach Todd Auer said. “If it’s they’re not playing physical and you need to be woken up, then maybe you need to have more physical practices. If they’re doing things right, then maybe you can ease it up a bit.” 

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Saluki co-offensive coordinator Nick Hill said the staff has given starters extra breaks during practice and reducing the number of full-contact practices. 

The players understand the importance of reducing wear and tear on their bodies as well.

“Obviously, everyone is banged up,” sophomore linebacker Markese Jackson said. “I’m just trying to do the best I can to stay healthy.”

The Salukis had a half-pad practice Tuesday, in which players wore shoulder pads, helmets and shorts and contact was minimized.

SIU had its bye week Sept. 19 after playing just two games. Eight of the other nine teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference had their open dates Sept. 26. South Dakota State was also idle Sept. 19.

The bye week is typically when SIU gives its regulars fewer repetitions and lets backups and redshirt players experience a full week of practice the way the starters would.

Senior quarterback Mark Iannotti has embraced the nine-week challenge the Dawgs have faced.

“I actually like it because you’re not thinking as much,” Iannotti said. “No matter what happens on Saturday, you’ve got to get up the next day and start preparing for the next team.”

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307

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